Have you ever talked to God and wanted Him to answer you? Do you ever wish Jesus or maybe one of His angels would just pop up and explain everything to you? We all would like some answers to the complexity of life’s issues and although we cannot know everything God does give us some answers to the complex issues of life. God is going to answer the people of Judah after they have been calling out to Him. The book of Isaiah takes a turn and verses 19-21 of chapter 26 are written as if God is answering His people directly. What God tells His people is encouragement for all of those who call on His name for salvation. The words and advice we will get today is encouragement for whatever we are walking through in this life. God answers them by telling them about the Resurrection
Isaiah 26:19 Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead.
1) The Resurrection gives us comfort
Your Dead shall live, their bodies shall rise. The first thing that God wants to assure them of is that those who pass away before the end of time will be brought back to life.
“Whether as a matter of hope or of fear and dread, man has generally felt that there is a life after death. The early Egyptians reveal this belief in their care of the dead; the Babylonians in their dread of it as a sad and doleful existence. Socrates held that life continues after death; the American Indians look for a future hunting ground. Brahmanism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Mohammedanism all hold that man continues to exist after death. Why this universal belief? Is this fundamental premonition of human nature a lie? No, that the mind cannot rest in the prospect of extinction affords ground for the hope that there is life after death.” (Lectures in Systematic Theology, Henry Clarence Thiessen, PG 380)
Even Atheist realize that we live on forever as they believe that matter will continue to live long after we are gone. Where does this thought come from? It comes from God.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
So, man knows that there is more than this life but he will never understand it because God only gives us a glimpse of what is to come. God answers them not by telling them about a victory over their enemy but about how those who are dead will be brought back at the end of time. Could there be any greater comfort than knowing that we will be reunited with our loved ones who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ?
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord,[a] that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
Sleep in the Bible is a term that is used for the body regarding death (Matthew 27:52; John 11:11-13; 1 Corinthians 11:30; 15:20, 51) Before Christ died people would go into Sheol which had two compartments. Paradise for those who put their trust in God and an unnamed place but is said to have torment. (Luke 16:19-31) In 2 Corinthians 12 Paul calls where we go today is called paradise but he says it is above. We know we will be raised like Christ was raised and 1 Corinthians 15:13 says if there is no resurrection then even Christ was not raised from the dead.
Christianity is based on faith and hope in the person the work and the resurrection of Christ. The People Paul was addressing in 1 Thessalonians 4 were in fear that they missed the rapture because of the persecution they were suffering but Paul reassures them that the suffering they were going through was normal persecution that all Christians might face for their beliefs. The fact that Paul was addressing their fears about missing the rapture indicates that the rapture happens before the tribulation or what is known as “Day of the Lord.” The main concern was about their loved ones who had died and if they would receive their resurrection bodies.
The Earth will give birth Our resurrected bodies will be like the ones we have now but will be different. Resurrection does not mean reconstruction it will be a resurrected body like Jesus had. In 1 Corinthians 15:35-49 Paul compares the resurrection to a seed being buried. The reason the earth will give birth is because it will be new bodies springing up just like a seed that is planted produces a plant that is the same kind but different. 1 Corinthians 15:49 says we will have glorified bodies which means they will be incorruptible imperishable, and powerful so we can carry out the will of God.
Awake and Sing for Joy
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
Jesus will call them out of the graves and tell them to WAKE UP. This will be the biggest family reunion ever as we get to be reunited with those who have gone on before us. We will be changed immediately into the glorified bodies that will allow us to be in the presence of God.
When the Bible talks about sleep it is talking about the physical body and not the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 5:8 says to be absent from the Body is to be present with the Lord so there is no waiting period for anyone who passes from this life. What they do wait on is their glorified bodies. Jesus told the man on the cross who believed in Him Today you will be in Paradise. (Luke 23:43)
26:20-21 Come, my people, enter your
shut your doors behind you;
hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by. 21 For behold, the Lord is coming out from his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it and will no more cover its slain.
2) The resurrection motivates us
A) Through Trials
For a little while until the fury passes When we are going through trials, they seem to never end but considering eternity they only happen for a little while and we are assured that this is all going to end. One of the things we must remember is that our timetable and God’s timetable are not the same. 2 Peter 3:8 says that a day to God is a thousand years and a thousand years a day
James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers,[b] when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
We can count it all joy because it will end and the fact that God is using trials to make us more like His son. Your Suffering is not in vain and is not hopeless.
“Enter your rooms” these measures will help them with their physical safety but for us we need to enter our rooms for our spiritual safety. This is another Exodus term as well when the people went into their homes with the blood of the Lambs over their doorpost while the death angel passed over. Some believe that God is promising protection of His people through this time trial, but protection is not always promised to Christians. We need to enter our rooms of private devotion to God so that we can stand against the schemes of the devil and the pressure of the world.
Matthew 6:6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
How much time do you spend in a day away from the distractions and problems of life? Are you building up yourself spiritually by getting away from everything and spending time with God through His word and in prayer?
B) To Live As If He is coming today
Behold (look) the Lord is coming out of His place. Do we really believe that Jesus can come at any minute? The people Paul addressed in 1 Thessalonians believed it and even Paul in all his writings wrote as if Jesus was going to come before he died.
Mark 13:35-36 Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows,[c] or in the morning— 36 lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”
If you knew Jesus was coming to live with you next week what would change around your house? We are always called to live as if Jesus is going to come at any time. (Matthew 25)
C) TO Share what we believe
The Earth will disclose the bloodstain on it. This is written as if the Earth is going to tattle on everyone who has done evil but what it really means is that God sees and knows all and nothing is going to escape His judgment. Even though it may not be in our time we can know that God is going to act and all those who are guilty will be punished.
John 6:40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
People who do not accept Jesus Christ have the wrath of God on them. (John 3:36) They will face judgment from God for how they rejected the gift of Jesus Christ and give an account for how they lived. Everything they did will be remembered and seen to be judged by God. What is interesting is all the Rapture scriptures, which pertain to believers, have nowhere in them about being judged. Roman 8:1 says there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus and we can know that our works done in Christ will be judged but our sins are remembered no more. (Hebrews 8:12)
The Resurrection brings comfort because we know because of Jesus Christ that there is a physical life after death and all who are in Christ will be reunited with Him. The Resurrection should motivate us in that what we are going through will end one day but it should motivate us in what we make a priority and for us to tell others about Jesus Christ being the only way to Heaven. (John 14:6)